BACKGROUND: Hemispherectomy is an established neurosurgical procedure for catastrophic epilepsy in childhood. However, the technique used to achieve an optimum outcome remains to be determined.
OBJECTIVE: We examined the influence of hemidecortication (HD) vs peri-insular hemispherotomy (PIH) on patient outcome.
METHODS: The medical records of 41 children undergoing hemispherectomy were reviewed for patient demographics, clinical criteria, and surgical outcomes.
RESULTS: HD and PIH were performed in 21 and 20 children, respectively. The mean age at surgery for HD was 54 months and 61 months for PIH. The median durations of surgery for HD and PIH were 5 hours and 7 hours, respectively (P < .001). For HD, 6 patients required a second surgery and 3 required a third. One PIH patient required a second procedure. Postoperative shunting was required in 5 HD patients, but only 1 PIH patient. All patients had increased hemiparesis after surgery. The overall mean follow-up time was 72 months. Engel class I or II outcomes after initial surgery were better after PIH (85%) compared with HD (48%) (P < .02). After subsequent surgeries for seizure control, 4 HD patients and 1 PIH patient improved to Engel class I or II.
CONCLUSION: Hemispherectomy is an effective surgical procedure for childhood intractable catastrophic epilepsy. In patients with diffuse hemispheric disorder, PIH tends to have fewer major complications, more favorable seizure outcomes, and a decreased need for subsequent surgical procedures, including shunting for hydrocephalus, compared with HD.